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The Great Contraction, 1929-1933 (Princeton Classic Editions) Paperback – August 31, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0691137940 ISBN-10: 0691137943

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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Classic Editions
  • Paperback: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (August 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691137943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691137940
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Milton Friedman (1912-2006) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and had previously taught at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976. He was also a member of the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981. Anna Jacobson Schwartz is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, which she joined in 1941. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. During her distinguished career, she has made major contributions to the economics of business cycles, banking, monetary policy, and financial regulation.

More About the Author

Milton Friedman is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the Paul Snowden Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago. In 1976 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics. He has written a number of books, including two with his wife, Rose D. Friedman---the bestselling Free to Choose and Two Lucky People: Memoirs, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James B on November 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
It is somewhat a morose sense of timing that a new edition of this book just came out. The authors write what is probably the definitive study of the monetary factors behind the great depression, and hopefully, provide enough information to avoid a repeat. As should be evident by the subject, a highly technical book, even for someone with a background in economics, not light bedtime reading, but well worth reading for someone with an interest in the subject.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rufus Burgess on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Friedman and Shwartz see two causes of the Great Contraction: 1) to a small extent bank failures; and 2) to a large extent a series of poor and inconsistent policies from the Federal Reserve System.

Popular belief is that the Stock Market crash of 1929 caused the Great Depression. From a statistical monetary analysis this is obviously false. For a year after the stock market crashed the economy experienced a recessionary business cycle but monetary factors remained relatively stable. After the bank panic of 1930 that all changed. The bank panics of 1931 and 1933 made matters far worse and at an accelerating rate. The United States caused the Great Depression which would later lead to an international depression.

If the Federal Reserve had followed a policy of monetary easing the bank panic of 1930 probably would not have happened. This would have required a very small amount, ~$80 million, in order to solve. The 1931 panic could have been prevented, even accounting for the 1930 panic with a ~$250 million injection of capital into banks. The 1933 crisis could have been prevented with ~$1 billion injection of capital. Instead the Federal Reserve decided to disregard conventional theory, which while not perfect would have solved the crisis, and submit to a deflationary set of policies. In the end it came down to the Federal Reserve System lacking internal leadership and acting in a fractured manner.

The Great Contraction only partially explains the monetary history of the Great Depression. I highly recommending Friedman and Shwartz's 'Monetary History of the U.S., 1867-1960' for those wishing to know more.

Unfortunately, Friedman and Shwartz's analysis only partially explains the Great Contraction and the subsequent Great Depression.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Means on October 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my father for Christmas last year. While it is considered a classic text and does provide many insights about our current financial crisis, it is too arcane for the average reader. Don't buy it unless you have an extensive background in economics.
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